‘Golden Age of Islam’, studies from 750 to 1258, mentions architecture, religious research, medicine, new thinking and philosophy of the time.
In this episode, Doctor Tony Street will tell us about the great philosopher and influential physician Ibne Sina (or Abu Ali Sina), born in Bukhara in 980, which is presently the city of Uzbekistan.
Ibne Sina was a citizen of Persia. He also left Aristotle behind as a great philosopher. He still holds a special place among Muslim scholars.
A period of about five hundred years in the ‘Golden Age of Islam’ became the reason for significant political and cultural changes in the Middle East.
During the 12th century, Western Europe re-studied ancient Greek philosophy. Researchers accepted Aristotle as a distinguished philosopher from the ‘controversial fetishist’.
In the process, Western researchers benefitted from the translation movement in which writings written in Arabic were translated into Latin. This process began in the late 11th century.
Influence of arabic philosophy
Arab philosophers studied Aristotle and this study came to be of Latin civilization, and then Latin researchers started trying to understand Aristotle’s work directly from the Greek language. Ibne Sina was an important Arab philosopher who greatly influenced Latin scholars.
In the process of understanding Aristotle from the side of Latin civilization, Ibne Sina was always present through his books, especially during Aristotle’s Meta Physics.
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Ibne Sina’s Meta Physics was the only Meta Physics in Europe since the mid-12th century. Ibne Sina’s meta physics was always studied during the study of Aristotle’s meta physics in the 12th century.
After 1250 AD, its value was reduced, but in spite of this, Ibne Sina continued to be quoted for understanding Aristotle’s philosophy for the next several years.
In one of the writings of Ibne Sina, an attempt was made to understand the gap between God and his captors. Then this research then became part of the religious philosophy of the Italian philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas. This philosophy was one of the great achievements of ancient Christianity.
Ibne Sina is often mentioned in Aristotle’s European studies. His name in Arabic is Abu Ali Ibne Sina. He was a great philosopher and famous physician. Who used to write books in Arabic in his time.
He was born in 980 in Bukhara, in present-day Central Asia. He traveled extensively in Central Asia and the Persian Empire. They eventually settled in Asfahan, a city in present-day Iran. He died in 1037. Even at the time of death, he was far away from home.
How did a Persian citizen in Central Asia who knew how to speak Arabic reach Greek philosophy during the 10th century?
The answer is also hidden in a movement to acquire knowledge through translation, which began in the eighth century. The aim of this movement was to translate books written in Greek into Arabic. This was greater than the movement to translate Arabic to Latin in the 12th century.
The capital of this movement of the Abbasid Empire was the capital Baghdad. Here the research of science and philosophy of ancient Greek civilization was observed.
It took almost two centuries for the arrival of this movement and Ibne Sina to become a great philosopher. Even before them there were many famous philosophers, among whom al-Farabi is a great name, who died in 950 AD 30 years before the birth of Ibne Sina.
Ibne Sina had high regard for al-Farabi. They considered him his second teacher, i.e. Aristotle the first teacher and Al-Farabi the second.
Most philosophers of Baghdad were associated with the writings of Aristotle. At the same time, philosophers such as al-Farabi continued their personal work. But the real aim of the 10th century was to translate and review Aristotle’s work in Arabic.
Ibne Sina’s 57-year-old life is part of the Islamic era, which began after those centuries, when the Arab army conquered the territories of Persia. After this, the people of Persia made great cultural advances in Islamic civilization.
Ibne Sina himself was a citizen of Persia, but he wrote two of his most important books in Arabic. At the beginning of this period, around 950, the people of Persia took cultural leadership from the Arabs. But then in the final years of Ibne Sina, this leadership got to the Turks.
Ibne Sina used to travel. He had a habit of moving from one city to another because he wanted to avoid the Turkish army coming close. During his life, he used to find shelter somewhere in the Persian Empire.
He left his home at just 20 years of age and moved north from Bukhara to Guruganj. He also spent time in today’s Iranian cities, Hamdan and Tehran, and finally settled in Asfahan. It seems like they were afraid of working in a Turkish empire.
With this journey he could get rid of the poor states which were surrounded by enemies. The courts of these cities had neither the resources nor the desire to encourage philosophers.
He took refuge in the Abbasid empire in cities administered by the ‘Boya’ dynasty, where philosophers were supported in the courts.
Come close to metaphysics
We know so much about Ibne Sina because she wrote her biography around 1012 AD. And also because one of his students wrote a book about him in which all the information about the years after 1012 AD is preserved till his death.
In his biography, Ibne Sina writes that he understood philosophy without a teacher himself. But he admits that one of Al-Farabi’s writings explained to him metaphysics, after which he gave up the idea of abandoning it.